How Google will improve the quality of answers to your questions

The company announced a series of improvements to allow Internet users to obtain “high quality” information, in particular for the optimized excerpts.

Google helps you get information on a bunch of topics with its search engine. For some queries, a small information box may appear at the top of the page to highlight the best answer. These are featured snippets and the company wants to improve the quality of these as it stated in a communicated August 11.

To this end, it uses its latest model of artificial intelligence (AI), Multitask Unified Model (MUM)for its filing systems designed to make it appear “relevant information from the most reliable sources available”. It allows them to understand the notion of consensus, which is when several high-quality sources on the Web all agree on the same fact. In other words, it checks the top part of a featured snippet’s text (in bold) by cross-checking it against other high-quality sources to see if there’s general consensus, even if they use words or concepts. different to describe the same thing.

Updates to improve the quality of information

AI models also help these systems understand when a featured snippet might not be the most useful way to present information, especially for unanswered questions. Example with “when did Snoopy murder Abraham Lincoln?” “, to which the search engine responded, at one point, by the date of his death in an optimized extract, while it is not about his assassin. “We’ve trained our systems to better detect these types of false premises, which aren’t very common, but are cases where it’s not useful to show a featured snippet. We have reduced the triggering of featured snippets in these cases by 40% with this update”said Pandu Nayak, vice president of Google in charge of the search engine.

In addition to improvements to these ranking systems, the firm announced updates for “information literacy features”. For the “About this result” function, which allows users to have more context on a search result even before visiting a web page, Google now adds more information such as online reviews on a source or if her systems can’t find a lot of information about her, for example. This allows to provide “an important context”, according to the company. It will also offer this functionality in other languages, including French, later this year.

Finally, Google is expanding its content warnings feature. These are messages that are displayed to remedy the “empty of information”, i.e. situations where interest in a hot topic outpaces the facts or when there isn’t enough reliable information online about a given topic. They thus indicate that it might be better to come back later when other sources are available. The company is now extending them to searches for which its systems do not have a high level of confidence in the overall quality of the results available. She clarifies that these disclaimers provide context about the overall results. In other words, the presence of these messages does not mean that no useful information is available or that a specific result is of poor quality.

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How Google will improve the quality of answers to your questions


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